Runway Models: What If Iconic Fashion Pieces Were Made Into Watches?
While some fashion brands collaborate with established watch brands, others make or market their own watches, leading us to wonder what would happen if this practice was more prevalent. What kind of design DNA would translate the tale of iconic fashion pieces to the wrist?
Fashion brands make fantasies and headlines along with the clothes and accessories that fill our closets. But, perhaps strangely, remarkably few make watches.
So, what would it look like if some of the biggest names in the business got into the game? We mocked up a few ideas that tap into the brand’s most recognizable features.
We here at Watchonista are neither watch designers nor do we have any verifiable information that any of the brands for which we created fantasy mock-up watches have any plans to make or market timepieces in the future or ever, for that matter.
In fact, Watchonista neither contacted nor consulted with any of the featured brands during the creation and preparation of this article. We are merely engaging in some armchair speculation and trying to answer the question: “What if?”
Prada: Always Bet on Black
Prada’s original incarnation as a posh luxury goods-maker dates back more than a century, when its first store opened in Milan in 1913. But since the founder’s granddaughter Miuccia Prada took the reins in 1978, the brand has been consistently forward-thinking and audacious.
An early breakout hit was the fashion house’s collection of minimalist black nylon accessories bedecked with Prada’s triangular logo (a reference to the shape of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where it first opened its doors). And as a result of this collection's success, endowing sporty pieces made in technical fabric with an aura of luxury that dominated the high-low sensibility of the minimalist 1990s (a look that’s again relevant, rediscovered by Gen Z) and eventually became a hallmark for the Milan-based brand.
Thus, no watch from Prada would be complete without that stark black logo taking center stage amid gender-neutral styling that anyone can wear. Of course, regarding the strap, Saffiano leather, a material patented by Mario Prada and frequently employed by the brand today, is the logical choice.
Additionally, since Prada recently made a splash with a new fine jewelry collection featuring certified recycled gold, the material would also be a sure thing for use in its watches too. Even in categories where it’s a newcomer, Prada will be ahead of the curve.
Christian Louboutin: Red Bottoms on Top
Martha Stewart and Cardi B have at least one thing in common: They both profess an affinity for the shoes of Christian Louboutin.
Maybe it’s not surprising. The brand’s shoes, known for their scarlet soles and pinprick-sharp heels found on iconic styles like the Pigalle and So Kate (as in Moss), are A-list catnip. Even those who would rather not teeter on stilettos can get the fabulously flashy look in sneakers or loafers that prickle with spikes from heel to toe, another of the French designer’s frequent flourishes.
So, while the brand collaborated with Jaeger-LeCoultre circa 2016, yielding a Reverso silhouette with some Louboutin verve mixed in, a watch that is a Louboutin production exclusively would verge on the over-the-top.
That famous scarlet hue must appear front and center on an impossible-to-miss dial, and a black-on-black strap surmounted with studs is edgy and mildly impractical, like the much the house’s shoes. Numerals in a script inspired by the designer’s elegantly loopy signature, which doubles as a logo, are the essential finishing flourishes and spell out the watch’s origin. However, the style reveals its maker without a word.
Loewe: Sketches from Spain
Founded in Madrid in the middle of the 19th century by a collective of artisans, Loewe made leather artistry a hallmark from the start. By 1905 its renown was so great it became an official purveyor to the Spanish Crown (names like Ava Gardner and Ernest Hemingway were clients too). And even as it expanded its sphere to include ready-to-wear beginning in 1965, flawlessly made leather goods were critical to its success.
Still, it wasn’t until the 21st century – notably with the arrival of creative director JW Anderson – that the company developed a rep for buzzy handbags with fashion cred. Then, when the Puzzle bag, comprised of angular cuts of leather and able to be worn in multiple ways, hit the scene in 2015, it caused a stampede that’s never diminished. Since then, the Puzzle bag has become a mainstay for the house.
And while its production time doesn’t rival what’s required to assemble a minute repeater, at about nine hours from start to finish, it’s more labor intensive than most luxury bags. That commitment to skilled, handmade craft makes it a natural candidate to create a watch design.
A Loewe model will play to the house’s strengths with a dial composed of leather. And a strap pieced together from artfully slashed lengths of the material with hand-painted edges directly recalls the Puzzle bag as the inspiration. Each season the palette and placement of the seams may differ, but as any watch collector knows, the most minute details can make all the difference.
Bottega Veneta: Hidebound
Leather goods from Bottega Veneta have been a signifier of stealth wealth since the Italian brand started in the 1960s. An early slogan, “When your own initials are enough,” got to the root of the self-assured, label-eschewing client the brand courted.
Instead of chasing trends, the work of its craftspeople, specifically woven leather, became its calling card. Even as the heritage brand has built a reputation for the agenda-setting newness beloved by the influencer crowd, it maintains a quality that’s a cut above most of its peers.
Only one technique is essential for a Bottega Veneta watch: Intrecciato, a sophisticated weaving technique created by the house to ensure the fine leather it worked with would be strong and lasting. The signature artistry would appear on both the dial and strap. The concept is simple, but the execution is more than enough.
(Mock-up watches created by Watchonista)